Builders Push against Construction Defect Suits

February 17, 2011
Gabriel Dillard

Local homebuilders, real estate agents and others are mounting a full-court press against out-of-area attorneys who solicit local homeowners to participate in construction-defect lawsuits.A group gathered before the Fresno City Council Thursday to detail the impact such lawsuits have had on industries including construction, manufacturing and real estate sales. They also asked the council to support legislation that would require attorneys who solicit such lawsuits to disclose possible drawbacks to their clients.Granville Homes has been the target of such lawsuits, which are lodged against homebuilders by buyers alleging their homes were built defectively. Granville President Darius Assemi told the Fresno City Council that attorneys who solicit these types of lawsuits often do so without giving the builder a chance to remedy the situation.“You wake up one morning, and there it is a lawsuit on your doorstep,” Assemi said.He added the result is that homebuilders are often hesitant to build for the entry-level housing market.Pat Redell, owner of Fresno window and patio door manufacturer Merzon Industries, said such lawsuits have contributed to him closing shop. In his 30-plus years in business, he told the council he has been named in more than 300 of these types of cases, which has taken its toll. He said he employed up to 200 people in the late ’80s. Now he employs zero and is looking to sell his equipment.He likened the lawsuits to &ldqu;a disease spawned in the Southern California area that can be directly tied to just a handful of law firms.”Read the full story



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